Halloween, risk, fear, and political exploitation

We certainly shouldn't be criminalized, but I recommend trying not to be fearful either. I've been out in the Castro on most of the Halloweens over the past decade, and I have yet to even see an assault that I recall, let alone get shot or stabbed myself.

  Several years ago the police did however, in the name of "safety," steal a ninja sword that I had loaned to a friend for his costume. It was unsharpened and tied so it could not be removed from its scabbard, which was secured to his back, and it took him several minutes to take it off and untie it before they confiscated it; not exactly a threat. When I eventually made it over to the North Beach police station to retrieve the item, they claimed they couldn't find it, and I never did get it back.

  Becoming a random victim of a shooting or stabbing at a Halloween street party may be more likely than winning the lottery, but not that much more likely. Ironically, the authorities may be increasing the risk, not just with victim disarmament laws, but with their hostility to people having fun as well.

  According to an Associated Press story, "The shootings occurred around 10:40 p.m. Tuesday, as authorities began dispersing thousands of revelers under a new curfew that was aimed at controlling the traditionally raucous event."

  Coincidence? Perhaps not. It's well known that a prime time for street violence in California is around 2 a.m., when state law forces bars to close and eject their patrons out onto the street. Nightlife defenders have speculated that there would be less violence if people were allowed to stay and spend their energy partying and socializing instead of being forced to leave early, sometimes with few obvious options of what else to do besides get into trouble. I can't help but wonder whether a similar phenomenon was at work in this case.

Love & liberty,
        <<< starchild >>>

Somebody on the police force must collect knives. When I was called a
few weeks ago for jury service, one of the jurors, asked about his
feelings about the police, related an incident where he had called the
police to his house (someone may have been breaking in? I forget). They
found an expensive knife of his, a collector's item, and said they were
going to have to take it down to the station, but that he could pick it
up the next day. When he went down the next day, no knife had been
turned in, and there was no report of the police having been to his

At the Castro Halloween event, an acquaintance said he spotted someone with a knife and reported it a police officer - pointing the guy out. The officer ignored the guy with the knife and instead searched my acquaintance.

Another story: When I entered the Castro that evening they searched my bag and said I couldn't enter with the sealed bottle of vodka I had. So I went to the next checkpoint up the street where they didn't search me and I walked by.

It's not clear to me how effective the police presence was.

- Steve

I didn't mean any knives, just collector's items. No argument on
effectiveness, though.